The first driverless car hit the streets of Boston this week without an issue. Cambridge-based autonomous vehicle technology startup NuTonomy Inc. launched the pilot program, using a car guided by artificial intelligence software and supported with cameras and sensors to detect nearby objects. Karl Iagnemma, CEO of NuTonomy, told the Boston Globe, “All systems performed perfectly. It was great to get on the road in our home state. We look forward to logging many more miles in Boston.”
Here’s what else happened in the Boston startup community this week:
Forbes honors 40 young social entrepreneurs who are trying to make the world a better place. With the median age of 26, these young people are focused on issues that affect the world both globally and locally. Boston-based Sam Greenberg and Sarah Rosenkrantz are focused on ending homelessness and poverty through their shelter Y2Y.
Rethink Robotics, a startup founded by iRobot co-founder Rodney Brooks, announced having raised $18 million led by Adveq. Previous investors Bezos Expeditions, CRV, Highland Capital Partners, Goldman Sachs and GE Ventures also supporting the round. Scott Eckert, Rethink's CEO and president, told Robotics & Automation, “We’re seeing increasing global demand for our smart, collaborative robots as manufacturers build more connected factories in response to changing consumer needs."
Cambridge-based provider of private and public bike-sharing programs, Zagster, announced it has raised a $10 million Series B round, led by growth equity firm Edison Partners. In 2016, the company grew its staff to 50 people and increased its number of implemented programs by 300, with the number of deployed bikes growing by 400 percent. Zagster plans to use the funding to hire new employees and expand its bike-sharing programs.
With employment at a 15-year low and an economic growth rate outpacing national numbers, 2017 has the potential to be plentiful but steady year for Massachusetts-based companies. However, 10 companies, from well-established titans to startups, are planning to shake things up and make some big changes.
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